Every time I make these doughnuts I think of my late mother-in-law, who I adored. This is her mother's recipe - who knows how far back the origins really are.
Why Halloween, you ask? I've always like the idea of traditions, and when she first gave me the recipe, it was close to Halloween. I was a young chef in Cambridge, before children, and I wanted to make an old fashioned treat for the trick or treaters, instead of the standard Mounds or Snickers bars. Great hit! I made doughnuts until 10 pm, as word of mouth spread ("there's a lady making real doughnuts on Upland Road"), when I shut off the outside light, firmly.
This is a nice cake doughnut, not too sweet, and I make them tiny - mainly because I don't have a fryer, using a heavy bottomed pot full of vegetable oil instead. I use a large shot glass to stamp out the circles, then a large pastry tip to cut out the center hole.
You will need:
a fryer or a heavy bottomed saucepan 3/4 filled with vegetable oil
brown paper bags or paper towels for sugaring
1 cup sugar
1 t. mace
4 T. melted unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk
4-5 cups King Arthur flour ( or more, for rolling)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
Cinnamon sugar or confectioners sugar for shaking on finished doughnuts
Mix the ingredients together. The dough is fairly sticky. Sprinkle flour on the counter surface and scoop out a handful of dough. Gently roll out, using more flour as needed if it's too sticky.
Using a shotglass, stamp out small circles of dough. Dip a plain circle pastry tip into flour and stamp out the center hole. Continue to roll dough and cut out doughnuts until dough is used up.
Heat oil to hot, then turn down. If you have the oil too hot, not only will your doughnuts burn, but it's a fire hazard, so be careful.
Drop doughnuts in hot oil - they should float to the surface quickly. Turn doughnuts when lightly browned and let cook a little more. Using a slotted spoon, scoop doughnuts into the colander to drain. Set the doughnuts on a brown paper bag and sprinkle with sugar.
Upper photo featured in TasteSpotting